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Flick, Lawrence Francis (10 August 1856–07 July 1938), physician, historian, and early leader in the campaign against tuberculosis, was born in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Flick, a mill owner and farmer, and Elizabeth Schabacher (changed to Sharbaugh). Flick grew up on the family farm, but poor health excused him from the usual chores. A bookish boy and a devout Roman Catholic, he first attended local schools. For most of his teenage years, he studied at St. Vincent’s, a Benedictine college in Beatty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania, but symptoms suggesting tuberculosis cut short his classwork, and he returned home. After a period of indecision and various jobs, he entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1879. He then completed an internship at Philadelphia Hospital and opened an office for the practice of medicine. His persisting illness, however, was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis and, following his physicians’ advice, he traveled to the West for his health. By 1883, improvement allowed him to resume his practice, which soon included increasing numbers of patients with tuberculosis. “When I recovered from tuberculosis as a young man,” he wrote, “I consecrated my life to the welfare of those afflicted with the disease and to the protection of those who had not yet contracted it” ( ...

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Griscom, John (27 September 1774–26 February 1852), teacher, chemist, and philanthropist, was born in Hancock’s Bridge, New Jersey, the son of William Griscom, a farmer and saddle and harness maker, and Rachel Denn. Educated in country schools except for a few months in 1783 at Friends’ Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was self-taught in chemistry and physics. Griscom began teaching at a log cabin school near Salem, New Jersey, when he was seventeen. In 1794 he took charge of the Friends’ School in Burlington, New Jersey, where he taught chemistry to advanced pupils in a room in his house that he had converted into a laboratory....

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Law, James (13 February 1838–10 May 1921), veterinarian, educator, and public health advocate, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Law and Grace Turner, farmers. In 1857 he graduated from the Veterinary College in Edinburgh and then continued scientific study at the medical school of Edinburgh University and at veterinary schools in France at Alfort (near Paris) and Lyons. Returning to Scotland, he became a protégé of John Gamgee, a cosmopolitan English veterinarian who promoted the view that epizootics (diseases affecting many animals) were caused by minute organisms, not noxious fumes, changes in the weather, or poor ventilation. By siding with the controversial Gamgee, Law abandoned the anticontagionist views held by British veterinarians in general and by his Edinburgh teacher, William Dick. In 1860 Law joined the faculty of Gamgee’s New Veterinary College in Edinburgh and taught anatomy and materia medica. In so doing he joined the minority of veterinary educators who sought to improve veterinary education by placing it in a scientific framework. Although he had been certified as a veterinary surgeon by the Highland and Agricultural Society in 1857, he also took and passed the examination of the rival Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) in 1861, thereby becoming a member and in 1877, rising to fellow. In 1863 he married Eliza Crighton in Edinburgh; they had three daughters and one son. When Gamgee reestablished the New Veterinary College in London in 1865 as the Royal Albert Veterinary College, Law moved with him. However, the Royal Albert failed to compete for students with the Royal Veterinary College, and Law left to practice in Ireland....

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Leopold, A. Starker (22 October 1913–23 August 1983), wildlife biologist, conservationist, and educator, was born Aldo Starker Leopold, Jr., in Burlington, Iowa, the son of Aldo Leopold, a forester, naturalist, and ecologist, and Estella Bergere. His achievements as a scientist and conservationist paralleled those of his father, a dominant figure in the development of scientific wildlife management....

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Leopold, Aldo (11 January 1887–21 April 1948), conservationist and author, was born in Burlington, Iowa, the son of Carl Leopold, the principal manager of an office furniture manufacturing firm, and Clara Starker. (His first name, Rand, was rarely used.) Leopold came of age during the ascendancy of the progressive conservation movement of the early 1900s. His father (whom he would later describe as “a pioneer in sportsmanship”) and mother nurtured his early interest in the outdoors and in conservation and supported him in his decision to enter the emerging field of forestry. Leopold entered Yale University in 1905, graduating from the Sheffield Scientific School in 1908. In 1909 he received his Master of Science degree from the Yale Forest School, the training ground for many foresters entering the recently established U.S. Forest Service....

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John Muir Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-52000).

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Muir, John (21 April 1838–24 December 1914), naturalist, conservationist, and writer, was born in Dunbar, Scotland, the son of Daniel Muir and Anne Gilrye, farmers. He was educated in Dunbar’s common school and by his father’s insistence that he memorize a Bible chapter every day. With his father and two siblings, John migrated to Wisconsin in 1849; the rest of the family soon followed. On the family’s homestead near Portage, Daniel worked John, just entering his teens, as if he were an adult field hand, inflicting corporal punishment; John Muir later believed that this hard farm labor stunted his growth. The boy’s escape was to devour every book that he came across, and when his father forbade his reading at night, he devised a sort of wooden alarm clock attached to his bed. This “early-rising machine” awakened him very early in the morning, and he would read until it was time for his exhausting chores....

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Olson, Sigurd Ferdinand (04 April 1899–13 January 1982), writer and conservationist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lawrence J. Olson (born Lars Jakob Olsson), a Swedish Baptist minister, and Ida May Cedarholm. He spent most of his childhood in northern Wisconsin, where he formed his lifelong attachment to nature and outdoor recreation. Olson earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1920. He returned briefly in 1922 for graduate work in geology and earned a master’s degree in zoology (animal ecology) from the University of Illinois in 1932. Meanwhile, in 1921 he married Elizabeth Dorothy Uhrenholdt; they had two children....

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Rosen, George (23 June 1910–27 July 1977), medical historian and public health educator, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Morris Rosen, a garment worker, and Rose Handleman. Rosen’s parents were immigrant Jews who spoke Yiddish at home, and it was not until he entered the New York City public schools that Rosen learned English. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1926, and the College of the City of New York in 1930. A victim of the policy that restricted enrollment of Jewish students at American medical schools, Rosen then undertook medical studies at the University of Berlin where he joined several dozen young Americans (all Jews except one African American) who had been denied a high quality medical education at home. Rosen witnessed the Nazi seizure of power and lived in Nazi Germany while completing his medical education. In Berlin, Rosen met Beate Caspari, a German-Jewish medical student, whom he married in 1933; they had two children....

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Benjamin Rush. Engraving by James Barton Longacreof a painting by Thomas Sully. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-97104 ).

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Rush, Benjamin (04 January 1746–19 April 1813), physician, professor of chemistry and of medicine, and social reformer, was born in Byberry Township, Pennsylvania, thirteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, the son of John Rush, a farmer and gunsmith, and Susanna Hall Harvey. John Rush died when Benjamin was five years old. His mother ran a grocery store to support the family. She sent Benjamin at age eight to live with an uncle by marriage, the Reverend Dr. ...

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Turner, Thomas Wyatt (16 March 1877–21 April 1978), educator and civil rights advocate, was born in Hughesville, Maryland, the son of Eli Turner and Linnie Gross, farmers. The fifth of nine children born into a family of black Catholic sharecroppers, Turner spent eight years in the racially segregated public schools of Hughes County before entering an Episcopalian school for African Americans at Charlotte Hall in adjacent St. Mary’s County. In his two years at Charlotte Hall (1892–1894), Turner fell under the sway of two missionary educators who persuaded him that learning was next to godliness and that teaching was a noble profession. From 1895 to 1901 he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. (the first two years in preparatory school), receiving an A.B. in biology in 1901. After teaching at Tuskegee Institute in 1901–1902, he taught in a Baltimore, Maryland, high school for the next decade. While there, Turner earned an M.A. at Howard in 1905. In 1907 he married Laura Miller of Hampton, Virginia. He next pursued doctoral work at the University of Rochester, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Cornell University, completing a Ph.D. at Cornell in 1921. In 1913 Turner accepted a position as professor of biology at Howard University, a position that he held until 1924. His next assignment took him to Hampton Institute, from which he retired in 1945....